The Black Book


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The Black Book of Kincardineshire....


Containing miscellaneous papers connected with the county the Black Book of Kincardineshire is a rare collection of accounts dating back to the 17th century which have never been surpassed. I want to concentrate here on the documented criminal trials within those pages. They are a wonderful source of names, places and events.

Are your ancestors among those described. Dare you look?....

6 March 1698  The which day, there being a boy apprehended and sent prisoner to the Tolbooth by John Carnegie, at the Mill of Conveth, whom he and his millart had apprehended in his mill after he had broken a hole in the gable of the said mill on Friday last, at night, and had filled his pock full of meal which he had taken out of a sack then standing there, and whom they took with fang: And on Thurday last, the said John Carnegie alleged he had taken some more meal that night. Which boy being prisoner in the Tolbooth of Stonehaven, and being called and convened before the Sheriff-Depute, and being examined in the said matter, did acknowledge and confess, that his name was Alexander Gill in Barrack in the parish of Newdeer, that his mother was dead. And confessed that the said John Carnegie and his millart at the Mill of Conveth had taken him when he had broken the said mill, and that on Friday night he had two pecks and half of meal out of the said mill, which he had thrown down in the trough, during the time they were opening the doors, thinking to deny the same, and to make his escape. And likewise confessed that, having come to Andrew Renny's house in Strait Craigs of Garvock, a weaver there, on Wednesday last, in the evening, and having lodged there all night, the said Andrew Renny told him that he would get meal very easily taken out of the said mill, and told him that a boy, John Renny, his son, had been there and taken out some meal out of the said mill before, and desired him to go with his son to-morrow being Thursday, and accordingly his son and he went there on Thursday night last, and entered at the bridge-window, and both filled their pocks full of meal out of a sack standing there, and carried the same home to Andrew Renny's, and that the said Andrew Renny desired him to go again and steal more on Friday night last, which he died, and was then apprehended as above mentioned. And declared that he cannot read nor write - and that he knew not the said mill, nor the way to enter, till he was told of it, and the son pointed out to hime the way he had entered before, and denies that he ever committed any other theft. Banished the shire for ever.

17 March 1698  William Walker in Bervie, and Margaret Scott his wife; William Walker, and Margaret Hogg there; Robert Smilth in Mill town, and Isobell Gady his spouse; Robert Clark at Mill of Haulkerton, and his spuse; William Milne in Hill of Haulkerton, and Margaret Mitchell his spouse; John Robertson in Johnshaven, Christian Williamson, James Martin there, and Margaret Craigie his spouse, were all this date summoned to underly the law at the instance of Robert Keith, Procurator fiscal of the County of Kincardine, for selling meal by measure, and not by weight, as being contrary to the Act of Parliament. Were all fined.

31 March 1698  Arthur Robertson in Kirkside, summoned to underly the law for his violently offering to strike Robert Glenney in Tullos, and Walter Cumming servitor to the minister at Nigg, with a drawn dirk under cloud of night, in his drunk humour. Dismissed from the bar, there being no evidence against him.

31 May 1698  Alexander Cruickshank in Little Banchory, Robert and James Cruickshank his children, summoned to underly the law, for beating, blooding, and dragging Jane Darge, in Little Banchory, through the gutter, and threatening to put her in the Jougs: And at last, taking her prisoner, carrying her to the church of Banchory and there tying her within the same, and locking her within the church, affrighting her out of her wits. Alexander Cruickshank amertiate in the sum of 50 Scots money for himself and his bairns, and four pound of Ascythment modified to the party injured, and ordained to pay ilk ane of the witnesses himsel.

8 July 1698  John Cowie in Faskie, summoned to underly the law, for stealing, cutting, and away-taking, under cloud of night, several young trees out of the plantation of Faskie, belonging to the Laird of Balmain: And for stealing a certain quantity of bear belonging to the Laird of Thornton. Failed to appear - was declared fugitive, and all his moveable goods declared to be escheat.

23 July 1698  William Spence Cottar in Knock, apprehended with the fang, was incarcerated, and confessed that he did steal a hen and three chickens in the night time out of the henhouse of Mr James Gordon of Ardoch. Banished the shire, and his goods escheat.

23 July 1698  Robert Moncur, Servitor, to James Webster alias Thomson, in Gallowtoun, and the said James, being summoned to underly the law at the instance of the Fiscal, and Mr John Milne, Parson at Fetteresso, partly grieved, for his interest, for stealing and away-taking of peats belonging to the Parson, furth of the Hill of Clachensheils; and the said Robert Moncur compearing and confessing, that he took some of the pursuer's peats, and offering to give as many back, the Sheriff amertiated the Defenders in five punds Scots, and ordained tem to lead to the minister's stack-hill at his own house, four cart fulls of peats, or pay six shillings Scots for each cartful thereof.

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